Today, we have the second installment in Eric Hörst’s training for climbing video series with EpicTV.  While the first video focused on hangboard training and how to effectively develop maximum finger strength, this video features campus board exercises that focus on contact strength.

“In this episode of my Epic-TV training series, I present three campus training exercises for developing contact strength—that is, the rate of force development in the finger flexor muscles…a critical attribute for hard bouldering and sport climbing.” – Eric Hörst

Contact Strength Campus Exercises:

There are a wide variety of ways to train on the campus board which emphasize different types of power.  The exercises in today’s video focus primarily on developing contact strength.  In other words, they are not about doing the biggest moves possible and instead focus on improving your ability to apply force quickly to a hold as you latch it dynamically.  Here are the three contact strength exercises Hörst prefers:

  • One arm campusing with feet on wall/floor
  • Campus laddering
  • Campus “switch hands”

The video demonstrates exactly how to perform these exercises in a very to easy to follow way.  Additionally, Hörst outlines exactly how many sets of each you should be doing and how long you should be resting between each rep/set.

General Campus Guidelines:

While the above exercises may seem relatively simple, it is really easy to campus train incorrectly.  Not only will doing so ensure you won’t make the gains you are looking for, but you will also run a high risk of injury.  Here are Hörst basic guidelines:

  • Campus train only if you are a solid intermediate or elite climber
  • Warm up thoroughly before campusing
  • Use only open hand or open crimp grips
  • Never engage a rung with a straight arm and/or shrugged shoulder
  • Emphasize quality over quantity
  • Engage in regular rotator cuff and stabilizer training

As these guidelines point out, campusing can be really dangerous if not done correctly.  Always remember to emphasize quality over quantity and never campus when you are tired.  Additionally as Hörst describes in the video, campusing should only make up a small portion of your training time.  Because campusing is fun, it can be easy to get sucked into doing it too much.  Resist this temptation and stay disciplined.  You will be rewarded with awesome power gains instead of injured fingers, elbows, and shoulders.

Click through below to watch the video for yourself.  Whether you have never used a campus board before or have been using one for years, this video does a great job of laying out the basics and giving you some concrete guidelines to ensure you aren’t overdoing it.

Full Video: Eric Hörst – Contact Strength Training Video

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(video still courtesy of |

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TrainingBeta is a site dedicated to training for rock climbing. We provide resources and information about training for routes, bouldering, finger strength, mental training, nutrition for climbers, and everything in between. We offer climbing training programs, a blog, interviews on the TrainingBeta Podcast, personal training for climbing, and nutrition for climbers.

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